SAO PAULO, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Roberto Barbuti, who was the co-head of investment banking at Bank of America Merrill Lynch's Brazilian unit until October last year, left the firm last week to pursue other interests.
Barbuti's departure occurred three months after Bank of America Merrill Lynch decided to appoint Hans Lin as the sole head of investment banking in Brazil. Barbuti was then put in charge of private-equity investments in Latin America and coverage of the electricity and real estate-sectors in Brazil.
Activity in those areas had been underperforming recently, and Barbuti and three other bankers left the firm. The bank intends to hire replacements for them, Lin said in a Friday interview.
"The project that he was going to develop ended up becoming too small," Lin said.
Barbuti was hired from Banco Santander Brasil SA in 2011, where he headed the bank's broker-dealer business, to co-manage the area with Lin, a Merrill Lynch veteran. Both were responsible for Bank of America Merrill Lynch's jump in mergers and acquisitions and capital markets advisory work over the past four years.
Four years of slow economic growth in Brazil and a slump in confidence hammered fees and helped delay the conclusion of hundreds of deals. Last year, the number of M&A deals fell, while initial public offerings had their worst year in more than a decade.
Efforts to contact Barbuti on his mobile phone were unsuccessful. (Editing by Matthew Lewis)